Chronology of world-wide actions of protests against the shooting of workers in Zhanaozen

Posted on December 28, 2011

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The bloody events in the Mangistauski region on December 16th have triggered a wave of indignation worldwide. Soon after the news of the shooting made it to the outside world the diplomatic missions of Kazakhstan have faced actions of protests and solidarity with the ailing workers and peaceful residents.

On December 18th in Tel-Aviv a demonstration in solidarity with the oil workers of Kazakhstan took place in front of the embassy. The demonstration was organized by the workers union “Strength to the workers”, the Arab-Jewish social movement “Tarabut” and the movement “Socialist struggle”.

In Moscow the first demonstration of solidarity took place the evening of December 16th in front of the embassy of Kazakhstan.  The comrades of the committee for a workers international put up a poster with the slogan “Now in Kazakhstan a peaceful demonstration of workers under strike is being attacked”. People passing by would stop and ask questions about the events in the country. Having learned about the events in the country people expressed their repudiation and discontent. Police officers in charge of security at the embassy would also express indignation. Later in the day people, mostly left activists, would come and leave flowers tied with black ribbons. On December 17th a second action of protest and solidarity with the workers of Kazakhstan took place in Moscow. Rank-and-file citizens organized via social networks showed up at the embassy of Kazakhstan to bring flowers in order to express their felt condolences with those workers and innocent civilians of Zhanaozen who lost their lives and to protest against the Kazak authorities. No embassy officials came out to communicate with the demonstrators.
Communists of the Leningrad committee of the Russian Communist Workers Party (RCWP), the left organization “Rot Front” (not officially registered as a political organization), and comrades from leftist organizations put together a picket line under the banner of the workers union “Zaschita”. The picket line was organized on December 17th in front of the Consulate General of Kazakhstan   in the presence of a large police contingent. Diplomatic officials refused to communicate with the picket line. A statement addressed to the president and deputies of the Kazakh parliament with the demand to stop violent action against workers and an expression of solidarity with those who struggle against the dictatorship of Nazarbaev was read out in public and was attached to the gate of the Consulate General.

The evening of December 16th youth organizations of leftist orientation gathered at the embassy of Kazakhstan in Kiev. A demonstration took place to demand the immediate cessation     of violent action against peaceful residents of Zhanaozen. Diplomatic officials of Kazakhstan thinking that those gathered convened to congratulate them with the “day of independence” came out to greet the demonstrators. When they understood the intent of the demonstration they run away back into the premises without being able to answer questions. Demonstrators laid flowers and attached to the gates of the diplomatic mission black ribbons and placards with slogans such as “Oil is not worth blood”, “Stop the shooting of peaceful civilians”,

“Authorities of Kazakhstan are killers”.

That same date and at the same time few tens of representatives of leftist organizations, including the association “Borotba”, left opposition forces RKAS, independent anarchists and others, came out to the Consulate of Kazakhstan in Odessa. In memory of fallen representatives of the working class, left activists brought flowers and a five-pointed star made out of candles, a symbol of international proletarian solidarity, was drawn under the walls of the diplomatic mission. The security service behaved aggressively, especially the official in charge, who physically harassed peaceful demonstrators and tried to confiscate the camera of a journalist. Nevertheless, the self-confidence of the leftist activists prevented further hostile action on the side of security forces. Few brief speeches took place protesting against the action of killers dressed in police form and with a emotional support of comrades in Kazakhstan.

On December 16th in the German town of Aachen an action of protest was organized by socialists and leftists to protest against the killing of oil workers and their supporters in Kazakhstan. Despite the heavy rain and low temperatures, residents of Aachen expressed strong interests towards the events in Kazakhstan and gave a strong signal against the actions of the Kazakh authorities.

In Dublin, Paul Murphy, a deputy at the Euro-parliament from the Socialist party of Ireland and other members of the same party organized a picket line in solidarity with the Kazakh workers under attack by the authorities. The picket line got a strong support from automobiles passing by.
In Sweden there is no Kazakh embassy. As a result, the Kazakh company “Telia” was the targeted by protesters. This is a former government-owned telecommunication company that controls 98% of the grid network for mobile telephones in Kazakhstan. In the evening of December 16th in the Swedish towns of Stockholm, Goteborg and Lulea activists of the Committee for workers international distributed leaflets. Many people passing by expressed solidarity and disgust by comparing the Kazakh regime with those taken down by revolutions in the Arab-speaking world. In addition to various actions of protest, the Socialist party of Equality contacted various newspapers and unions to inform them about the bloody events.

A group of members and sympathizers of the socialist party of Belgium together with assistants to the deputy of the Euro-parliament Paul Murphy, organized an action of protest at the embassy of Kazakhstan in Brussels. Members of the socialist party of England and Wales also protested in London in order to support the struggle of the oil workers.

On December 16th the “Socialist Alternative” in Germany organized an action of protest in front of the Kazakh embassy in Berlin. Few documents were handed to embassy officials. The most important among of the documents was a letter of protest signed by three members of the Bundestag and members of a leftist organization. Activists also handed to the deputy of the Kazakh ambassador a letter from “Socialist Alternative” and another form Kristina Lenert, a deputy of the city hall in Rostock. The embassy official accepted the letters after the police (which he himself  contacted!) showed up.

In Austria two actions of protest against the policies of Kazak authorities were organized: One near the Kazak Consulate in Graz and another near the Consulate in Vienna. During the action in Graz by passers were outraged by the events in Kazakhstan and reacted warmly to the organizers of the protest. In Vienna a Consulate official met the protesters. A letter of protest was handed to him.
Other organizations around the world expressed their discontent with the violent actions inflicted on workers and residents of Zhanaozen: The Communist Party of Greece, the Greek union PAME, the Communist Party of Bielorussia, Poland and Azerbaijan, the Russian Congress of Soviets of workers, specialist and state officials, the All-Ukrainian strike committee and several other unions, the Kazak organization in Poland “Wspolnota Kazachska”, the Conference of unions of Russia, the World Federation of unions, the International Conference of Unions.
On December 20th-21st a new wave of protests followed in Germany. On December 20th the “Socialist Alternative” organized simultaneous protests in Cologne and Berlin. On December 21st in Hong Kong an action of protest was organized in front of the building of the Kazak Consulate. Activists promised to launch a program of protests near the buildings of corporations linked to the oil business in Kazakhstan. On that same day Russian activists organized another picket at the monument to Engels in Moscow. On December 23rd activists of Rot Front demonstrated in front of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Moscow. Since December 16th picket lines take place on a daily basis at the embassy of Kazakhstan. Citizens keep bringing flowers.

At this stage a new campaign of protest coordinated internationally is being discussed. The deputy of the Euro-parliament from the Socialist party of Ireland, Paul Murphy, has collected the support of 47 deputies of left orientation and has declared about the formation of an international commission to investigate the massive shooting of workers and peaceful civilians in Zhaoneze and the village of Shetpe on December 16th, 17th and 18th. Russian civil rights activists are now willing to organize support for the workers by initiating the collection of signatures addressed at the Russian authorities to put pressure on Astana (the capital of Kazakhstan. Note of translator). They are also willing to participate in the campaign of protest to free Natalia Sokolovaya, a union attorney currently in custody of the Kazak authorities.

The struggle and the actions of protest continue.

Distributed by Proletarskaya Gazeta, 25.12.2011.

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Posted in: Kazakhstan